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Advancing Human Security through Artificial Intelligence

Table 1: Human Security Dimensions
Object of Security

Content

Economic Security

Freedom from poverty

Food Security

Access to food

Health Security

Access to healthcare and protection from disease

Environmental Security

Protection from environmental pollution and depletion

Personal Security

Physical safety (e.g. freedom from torture, war, criminal
attacks, domestic violence, drug use, suicide and traffic
accidents)

Community Security

Survival of traditional cultures, ethnic groups and the
physical security thereof

Political Security

Freedom to enjoy civil and political rights, freedom from
political oppression

Source: Author’s research

Following from this, the UN also framed human security as emerging from the achievement of
‘sustainable development’ and various established international development goals.11 Human
security should be seen as complementary to state security, and measures taken to uphold human
rights and build local or regional security capacities through non-coercive measures will
simultaneously generate greater stability and development.
However, despite the UN rhetoric, the notion is not without critics. Some claim that it is ‘so broad
that it is difficult to determine what, if anything, might be excluded from the definition of human
security.’12 The problem, of course, is that if human security as a concept includes such extensive
facets of human existence, in reality it means little and impedes the formulation of sound policy.
Others point out that the two key elements that define human security have not been treated
equally, with progress on the ‘freedom from want’ portion subjugated to issues related to war and
violence, in an attempt to make ‘freedom from fear’ a reality.13 Such prioritization reflects various
realities of power politics, and demonstrates how some states view their obligations towards
capacity-building in areas that have little, if any, strategic or economic interest for them. Indeed,
even responses to global health crises appear to mirror power politics and national security
interests.14
From a practical perspective, difficulties of adequately and appropriately responding to potential,
emerging or ongoing human security crises are endemic. One might claim this is due to the fact that
the concept is over expansive, but this objection notwithstanding, achieving human security may
have more to do with the inability of various stakeholders, such as the UN, civil society and nation
states to monitor, predict and react to a crisis. Since there are linkages between development,
human rights and security, the number of different actors with varying priorities and knowledge
bases is high. These actors become disconnected, and may even be forced to work against one

A/RES/66/290.
Paris (2001), ‘Human Security’, p. 90.
Schittecatte, C. (2006), ‘Toward a More Inclusive Global Governance and Enhanced Human Security’ in Maclean, S., Blakc, D.R., and Shaw,
T. M. (eds) (2006), A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms, Ashgate Press: p. 132.
14 O’Manique, C. (2006), ‘The “Securitization” of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Critical Feminist Lens’ in Maclean, S., Blakc, D.R., and
Shaw, T.M. (eds) (2006), A Decade of Human Security: Global Governance and New Multilateralisms, Ashgate Press: p. 165.

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4 | Chatham House